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Thursday, December 6, 2018

Virtanen Beats Top Seed Andreev; Five US Girls, Two US Boys Reach Grade A Orange Bowl Quarterfinals; Sieg Wins Replay of Eddie Herr 16s Final

©Colette Lewis 2018--
Plantation, FL--

Friday's boys quarterfinals at the ITF Grade A Orange Bowl will not feature any of the top five seeds after No. 1 Adrian Andreev of Bulgaria and No. 3 seed Gauthier Onclin of Belgium were ousted Thursday at the Frank Veltri Tennis Center.

Yucatan Grade A finalist Liam Draxl of Canada, the No. 15 seed, defeated Onclin 6-1, 6-2 and No. 13 seed Otto Virtanen overpowered Andreev 6-4, 6-4.

Virtanen has not had the best junior results since he defeated Australian Open boys champion Sebastian Korda in the first round at Wimbledon, but he did reach a Futures final in August and has an ATP ranking of 834.  The 17-year-old from Finland lost in the first round of the Grade 1 Eddie Herr last week, but he has not lost a set in his three wins this week, and was able to use his serve and his forehand to keep Andreev on defense most of the match.

"I had a tough start, I was down 3-0, but I felt good still," said Virtanen, who won the Wimbledon boys doubles title this year. "It was just a few mistakes from me at the beginning, but after that I played really good."

Serving for the match at 5-4 in the second set, Virtanen went down 0-30, and then 30-40, but his serve saved him. He hit an ace on break point, then crushed a forehand winner to get to match point, converting with a big first serve and a forehand winner to earn his first Grade A quarterfinal berth.

"I didn't think about going to 5-all or anything," Virtanen said. "But I was just, next point. I was just thinking now, a good serve, and I got four points just with serve."

Virtanen will play No. 7 seed Anton Matusevich of Great Britain next. They have played in the last two junior slams, with Matusevich winning in the third round at Wimbledon and Virtanen winning in the first round at the US Open.

Draxl will face unseeded Ajeo Lingua Lavallen of Argentina, who beat unseeded Andrew Paulson of the Czech Republic 6-1, 7-6(3).  They met early this year in the first round of the Grade A in Porto Alegre Brazil, with Lavallen winning in three sets.

Both of the Americans are in the bottom half of the draw, with No. 8 seed Cannon Kingsley cruising past No. 10 seed Harold Mayot of France 6-1, 6-2 and unseeded Zane Khan overcoming a crushing second set to beat No. 14 seed Sergey Fomin of Uzbekistan 7-5, 6-7(1), 6-3.

Khan led 5-1 in the second set, yet couldn't close it out, and with a lackluster tiebreaker, momentum wasn't on his side. But he collected himself in the third set, and finished strong, with the 16-year-old advancing to a Grade A quarterfinal for the first time.

Kingsley will play unseeded Mateus Alves of Brazil, who beat the last qualifier in the boys draw, Luciano Tacchi of Argentina 6-7(5), 6-4, 6-1.  Khan's opponent is No. 6 seed Jonas Forejtek of the Czech Republic, who beat unseeded Filip Kolasinski 6-4, 6-0.
The five US girls in the quarterfinals include two wild cards, 14-year-old Robin Montgomery and 16-year-old Charlotte Chavatipon. Montgomery took out fellow wild card Ellie Coleman 6-1, 6-1 and will face unseeded Emma Navarro, who beat Peyton Stearns 6-2, 6-4.

Chavatipon defeated No. 5 seed Hurricane Tyra Black 7-6(4), 6-2, with her rebound from a tough start providing the energy she needed to earn the win.

"I was down 4-1 in the first set and coming back and getting it neck and neck--I haven't really done that a lot," said Chavatipon, who recently has begun training at the USTA's Player Development site in Carson, California. "This was one of like the first tournaments I was able to show up. In the beginning I was overhitting, taking too big of swings and not moving, so I just tried aiming at safer targets. I don't think she was able to outhit me from the ground, but she's a smart player, and that's the reason why she's top 50 in the world."

Chavatipon lost in the second round of qualifying at the Eddie Herr, but she had qualified for the Grade A in Yucatan, and before that, reached the final of a $15,000 ITF Women's Circuit tournament in Mexico City.

"It was actually a surprise to me, but my dad said, oh, you're in this Mexico $15K, and we're going to fly from Tijuana and you're going to play this," Chavatipon said. "I didn't even expect to play that when I marked my calendar. It really boosted me up. From the beginning of the year until then, I was kind of struggling. I changed coaches, I work with the USTA now, and that change in coaching actually helped."

Chavatipon will face No. 3 seed Diane Parry of France, who beat qualifier Hina Inoue 7-5, 6-1. Parry defeated Chavatipon 6-4, 7-5 in the round of 16 en route to the Yucatan title two weeks ago.

Top seed Coco Gauff struggled late in the second set of her match with unseeded Ana Geller, but posted a 6-2, 7-5 victory. Geller served for the second set at 5-4, but didn't get to a set point, and Gauff didn't give her another opportunity after that one slipped away.

Gauff will play unseeded Helene Pellicano of Malta, who beat No. 11 seed Sada Nahimana of Burundi 6-1, 2-6, 6-2.

No. 2 seed Qinwen Zheng of China defeated unseeded Caijsa Hennemann of Sweden 6-4, 6-0 and will play doubles partner and No. 6 seed Lea Ma, who had no trouble in her 6-1, 6-2 rout of Mara Guth of Germany.

The US girls are also having success in doubles, with five US teams reaching the quarterfinals after wins today. Alexa Noel and Nikki Redelijk will face Kacie Harvey and Natasha Subhash in one of the all-US quarterfinals, with both teams unseeded. The other all-US quarterfinal is also between two unseeded teams, with Savannah Broadus and Kylie Collins taking on Navarro and Chloe Beck.  Top seeds Black and Gauff will face No. 5 seeds Nahimana and Selin Ovunc of Turkey.

Two all-US boys teams advanced to the quarterfinals: No. 5 seeds Govind Nanda and Tyler Zink and unseeded Drew Baird and Toby Kodat. Baird and Kodat will face Mark Mandlik and his partner from France, Tom Leblanc Claverie. Emilio Nava, who is playing with Virtanen, and is seeded No. 7, will play No. 4 seeds Fomin and Onclin.

The semifinals are set for the 16s singles with three US girls and two US boys in the final four.
No. 4 seed Madison Sieg defeated No. 7 seed Elaine Chervinsky  6-3, 7-5 in a rematch of last Saturday's Eddie Herr final. Sieg had also lost to Chervinsky back in October, but this time they were playing on Sieg's favorite surface: clay.

"One thing that changed from other matches, I've always played her on hard," said the 15-year-old, who trains with Chervinsky at the Evert Tennis Academy in Boca Raton. "I like how clay's a little slower, so I get to have a little more time. And also I love moving, just sliding."

Trailing 5-2 in the second set, Sieg decided to stop worrying about losing multiple close games in that set.

"I was getting a little frustrated, so I thought, just one point at a time," Sieg said. "I wasn't thinking about coming back to 5-all, I was just thinking about each point."

Sieg will play No. 8 seed Yelizaveta Karlova of Kazakhstan, who beat unseeded Fatma Idrizovic of Serbia 6-4, 6-3.

The other girls 16s semifinal features two unseeded Americans: India Houghton and wild card Jaleesa Leslie. Leslie defeated Lara Schneider 6-2, 6-1 and Houghton took out unseeded wild card Carson Tanguilig 6-3, 6-1.

An all-US boys final is still a possibility, after top seed Dali Blanch and No. 2 seed Alexander Bernard won their quarterfinal matches Thursday. Blanch defeated No. 8 seed Lorenzo Claverie of Venezuela 6-3, 4-6, 6-3 and will face No. 4 seed Kokoro Isomura of Japan, 1 6-4, 6-2 winner over No. 9 seed Marko Stakusic of Canada. Bernard will play No. 3 seed Pablo Llamas Ruiz of Spain, who defeated No. 10 seed Derrick Chen of Great Britain 3-6, 6-3, 6-2.  Bernard downed No. 12 seed Aidan Mayo 6-4, 6-2.

The 16s doubles finals are scheduled for Friday, with three unseeded teams advancing to the finals.

The girls final is an all-US contest between unseeded teams, with Allie Gretkowski and Ava Catanzarite facing Tanguilig and Elise Wagle. Gretkowski and Catanzarite beat No. 8 seeds Leyden Games and Lauren Stein 6-1, 6-3, while Tanguilig and Games beat unseeded Ava Krug and Sophie Williams 6-1, 6-2.

No. 3 seeds Llamas Ruiz and partner Angel Guerrero Melgar defeated top seeds Blanch and Stakusic 6-2, 4-6, 10-3 and will face unseeded Bohua Dong and Haoyan Huang of China. Dong and Huang defeated No. 8 seeds Alan Kam and Diego Navarro of Mexico 3-6, 6-4, 10-6.

For Friday's order of play and a link to live scoring, go to the tournament website.